Manila [Philippines], Mar 19 (ANI): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced a 6.5 billion dollar initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries (DMCs) as they respond to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"This pandemic has become a major global crisis. It requires forceful action at national, regional, and global levels," said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
"With our developing member countries, we are formulating an aggressive set of actions to combat the pandemic, to protect the poor, the vulnerable, and wider populations across the region and to ensure economies will rebound as swiftly as possible," he said.
"Based on a close dialogue with our members and peer institutions, we are deploying this 6.5 billion dollar rescue package to meet the immediate needs of our members," said Asakawa.
ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants on top of the 6.5 billion dollar package, he added.
The initial package includes about 3.6 billion dollars in sovereign operations for a range of responses to the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, and 1.6 billion dollars in non-sovereign operations for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, domestic and regional trade, and firms directly impacted.
ADB said it will also mobilise about one billion dollars in concessional resources through reallocations from ongoing projects and assessing possible needs for contingencies. ADB will make available 40 million dollars in technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants.
To provide the support package to DMCs as quickly and flexibly as possible, ADB will seek an adjustment in its financing instruments and business processes.
Subject to approval by ADB's board of directors, this will include faster access to emergency budget support for economies facing severe fiscal constraints, streamlined procedures for policy-based lending, and universal procurement with flexible and faster processes.
ADB said it will further strengthen close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, regional development banks, the World Health Organisation and major bilateral funding agencies including the Japan International Cooperation Agency as well as the US Centres for Disease Control and private sector organisations to ensure effective implementation of its COVID-19 response.
Since its first COVID-19 response on February 7, ADB has already provided more than 225 million dollars to meet the urgent needs of both governments and businesses in DMCs. (ANI)